A HUGE increase in Bradford patients trapped in hospital after they are ready to go home shows social care at “crisis point”, it is claimed today.

The number of “delayed days” – spent in hospital beds, because patients cannot be discharged – has risen almost four-fold in only 12 months, the Telegraph & Argus can reveal.

There were 113 delayed days - where beds were blocked unnecessarily - in January 2014 – but that total had mushroomed to 442 one year later.

Liz Kendall, Labour’s shadow minister for care and older people, said such “appalling figures” were the consequence of savage cuts to social care after grant cuts to local authorities.

But Bradford Council, which is Labour-controlled, insisted that was wrong in the district, where it had made helping people leave hospital a priority and used extra NHS cash to cut delays.

In a statement, a spokesman said: “There was one delayed transfer in January 2014 due to a delay in social care and two in June 2014.

“An increase in delayed transfers in acute hospitals has not been a result of a lack of Council social care services.

“We work in partnership seven days a week with the districts’ acute hospitals to make sure people don’t have to wait to access social care services they need.”

The spokesman was, however, unable to identify the reasons for the increase – a staggering 291 per cent – or confirm that the statement meant none of the 442 delayed days in January 2015 were caused by “delayed transfers”.

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – which has previously argued it always wants patients to recover “in the most appropriate place” - said it did not calculate the cost of delayed discharges.

However, the Department of Health has estimated that each excess bed day costs £273, which would put the bill in Bradford at about £120,000 in January alone.

The growing problem in Bradford far outstrips the situation across England as a whole, where there was a 30.9 per cent increase in delayed days to 103,776.

There were also big rises in Kirklees (up 48.9 per cent) and in Leeds (up 104 per cent), but a tiny fall in Calderdale (0.5 per cent).

Miss Kendall said such delays cost £285 million in the last year alone – enough to pay for a year of home visits for almost 41,000 elderly people, or 6,840 nurses.

And she said: “Increasing numbers of frail, elderly people are reaching crisis point, ending up in A&E and getting stuck in hospital.

“This could be avoided if they had the right care and support in the community or at home. Instead, this Government has slashed social care.”

The figures cover delays after acute care only, involving surgery after severe injuries or illnesses, or to treat urgent medical conditions.

Local councils have warned they will be unable to meet the social care costs of an ageing population in the years to come, if steep grant cuts continue.

A Department of Health spokesman said: "Social care is a priority for this Government.

"We have given an extra £1.1 billion to councils to help protect social care services this year on top of additional funding in recent years."